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nterview - lunch with... Blake Kerr
The US M.D. is a witness in the criminal case against China in the Spanish National Court
by Sara España in El Pais backcover 13 January 2012
He arrived in Madrid in December with 25 kilos of documents in a backpack and returned to New York three days later without them. They are evidence in a lawsuit against former Chinese president Jiang Zemin, former prime minister Li Peng and six other leaders of the People’s Republic of China that is being investigated in Spain’s Audiencia Nacional. Blake Kerr is one of the key witnesses.
This American doctor has not dedicated 30 years of his life to defending Tibet because he fell in love with its snow-covered peaks, but because he witnessed the atrocities that were committed there. At 29 he had just graduated in medicine and wanted to climb Mt. Everest. That journey changed his life. He said to himself, “OK. I’ve got a new job”, referring to the human rights of Tibetans.
In 1987 he witnessed the violence with which China responded to the monks’ demonstrations. “The first time I was there, there weren’t too many Chinese in Tibet, but the last time I was in Lhasa [the capital] it was full of karaoke bars, restaurants… there were a lot of military personnel”, the doctor declares while enjoying a selection of Iberian pork products.
Intent on describing his experiences on his three trips to Tibet in 1991, 1993 and 1999, he hardly pauses to take a bite. “People died in my arms”, he says. In those first uprisings he tried to assist the monks who were wounded and who avoided the hospitals for fear of being arrested. “They fired deliberately on women and children…”
Back home after his trip, he decided to denounce what he had witnessed. He went to the U.S. Congress. “They didn’t believe any of the testimonies because they were solely from refugees”, he laments. Taking a swig of beer, he continues: “So I decided to return in secret to collect evidence”.
On this trip Dr. Kerr says he heard of 144 Tibetan women who had been sterilised against their will, 130 cases of forced abortions and eight cases of infanticide. “As an ethnic minority, they could not have more than two children, and if they did, the foetuses were given lethal injections and the women were sterilised. They also withheld their salaries”, Kerr denounces. He insists he has everything duly documented. He interviewed doctors and hospital personnel who talked freely about the birth control policy imposed by China. With the excuse of being a doctor sharing and comparing experiences, he was able to record with a hidden camera these testimonies that now form the basis of the lawsuit lodged by the NGO Comité de Apoyo al Tíbet, that is being investigated by judge Ismael Moreno in the Audiencia Nacional.
Dr. Kerr’s testimony and the evidence he has compiled have been used to denounce the genocide of the Tibetan people by reducing the number of its population. “The monks were afraid China would swallow them up”, he adds. The interviews he recorded in secret also show how the Chinese giant carried out its eugenics policy to improve citizens. “They sterilised women who they maintained were mentally retarded. And do you know how they determined this so-called disability? It depended on whether or not they could speak Chinese”, he declares with disbelief.